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Pope Francis: Cooperate in the education of future generations

Photo: http://w2.vatican.va/

Pope Francis has observed that the “educational compact” between families, schools, nations and the world, culture and cultures, is in “crisis”, and indeed in a state of breakdown.

That breakdown he said, is “serious”, and it can only be “fixed” through a renewed universal effort of generosity, the Holy See said in his address to participants, mostly academic leaders from some of the most respected universities of the world at the Seminar on Education: The Global Compact, Friday, February 7.

This breakdown in the educational compact means that society, the family and the different institutions called to educate, have all delegated the decisive task of education to others. In this way, the various basic institutions and the states themselves have evaded their responsibilities and faltered in this educational compact, he said.

In forging a new educational compact, there has to be an integration of disciplines, culture, sports, science, relaxation and recreation. For this reason, bridges have to be built to “jump over the forms of enclosure that trap us in our little world and to launch into the global open seas in respect for all traditions,” Pope Francis said at the seminar, which was organised by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

This, he said, will enable the promotion of a culture of dialogue, a culture of encounter and mutual understanding, in a spirit of serenity and tolerance. “An education that enables young people to identify and foster true human values from an intercultural and interreligious perspective,” he added.

On the occasion, Pope Francis acknowledged the family needs to be given its proper place in the new educational compact, since its responsibility already begins in the maternal womb and at birth. He also paid homage to teachers–who, he said, are always underpaid—so that, faced with the challenge of education, they will persevere with courage and tenacity.

“They are called ‘artisans’ who shape the coming generations. By their knowledge, patience and dedication, they communicate a way of living and acting that embodies a richness that is not material but spiritual, and creates the men and woman of tomorrow.”

Socio-economic and disadvantageous education system

On the local front, teacher, author and former independent senator Helen Drayton said it is time to “emancipate” our children— all of them regardless of race, religion, special needs, and economic circumstances from the “failing” government-school education system. In a Guardian Editorial ‘Race, Crime and Education Pt 1’, Saturday, February 1, Drayton believes it would be more productive to respond holistically to the education, physiological and psychological needs of all children, all of whom are vulnerable to societal ills, recognising that some are more at risk than others.

She questioned, what purpose is served by “continuously” linking delinquency, crime and everything negative with the race of one group of citizens.

“But what is the colour of white-collar criminals, bribers, fraudsters and embezzlers, rip-off merchants, tax evaders, money launderers…and drug pushers…. The guns too are all over, but the police don’t raid private places as a matter of routine. The priority is “hot spots”, she said.

All children have an innate ability to learn, though not in the same way, pace and style. For many of them, the “eyes of justice” are “wide shut” to the distribution of inequity, Drayton said.

She said that the schools—many which are government-run “blackboard jungles” and some noted for poor management, indiscipline, where no beauty surrounds and teachers are afraid to go.

She commented that the SEA, “the cookie-cutter system” frustrates diverse learning needs, demotivates and condemn thousands of children to “drown” in that rough SEA of stress and depression, adds to the consequences of broken homes or no homes, bullying and peer pressure.

Moreover, Drayton asserted most of our children are capable, have unheralded courage and high-tolerance to stress. They beat the disadvantageous system and survive all the injustices thrown at them, she said. “They high-jump historical and present-day psychological barriers that inculcated myths of inferiority, perpetuated by religion, history and too, the current education system,” Drayton said.